Leadville Trail 100: Run #6

Sometimes I think I write these race reports just so I can remember what I did.

Anyway, I forgot to write about last year’s Leadville Trail 100 mile run. Here’s what I recall.

For one, I had a support crew. My girlfriend Lori came out for her first Leadville race and helped me through the course. I had hoped to introduce her to Jenn from IMBA who was crewing for her boyfriend but didn’t get the opportunity before the race. When I ran through an aid station about two-thirds into the race, they were next to each other chatting. Jenn, this is Lori. Lori, Jenn.

I did have stomach issues again before eventually vomiting about 60 miles into the run. Even drinking water was making me nauseous. So, right before the aid station I took four strong gulps of water. Bam! Everything came out and I started on Stomach 2.0. The ugly side of ultras.

Still, my new and improved stomach still wasn’t 100%. I craved orange juice.

With about 6 miles to go and the sun beginning to rise for the second time during the race, I ran past a mellow dude sitting at a bonfire. He said, “Run between the cans.” There were two columns of aluminum cans on both sides of the trail — AND ONE WAS AN ORANGINA! I stopped in my tracks and asked the camper if he had more Oranginas. He did. I offered to wait while he went to retrieve one from the cooler, but he insisted I keep running to the finish. He’d catch up with a cool, bubbly citrus beverage in hand.

He never did.

After running 90-some miles, you wouldn’t believe how easy it is to fixate on such an event. No, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a hallucination.

At the finish line, Lori was kind enough to run to the store and buy some OJ.

And fortunately she was at the finish. I ran the last 12 miles faster than ever before. So fast that Lori would have still be sleeping at the hotel when I got to the end. Realizing this, I waved down a car with about 4 miles to go. I asked if they could call Lori and let her know I was well ahead of schedule.

“What’s her number?”

Ah… Thanks to speed dial, I don’t even know that on a normal day. Thankfully I remembered it was written on my race wrist band as an emergency contact. They told me to keep running and it would be taken care of. Unlike Orangina-man, it was.

I had my second fastest finish at 26 hours and 32 minutes. That was good for 116th overall out of the 351 that finished. There are typically around 1,000 registered racers.

Why was I faster? I’d run more training miles than ever before and weighed less than in previous years. I think that latter was key.

I also used three pair of shoes. I started with a pair Montrail Rockridge, swapped to my regular road shoes at the Fish Hatchery outbound, then to a second pair of Rockridges at the next aid station. I made the same changes on the return. This worked. It felt great running in some light road shoes.

The other update is I used a Black Diamond Spot headlamp. I was very pleased with its dimming feature which helped the batteries last all race long. I also put cellophane tape on the lens to diffuse the LED spot. I plan on using this again in conjunction with my Surefire flashlight.



Registered for Leadville 100 run: Lucky #7

The heightened  interest ultra racing continues as the Leadville 100 run is nearly full again according to some.

In the “good old days” racers registered by snail mail and could wait until a month before the race. No more. You need to commit (i.e. pay) early.

This will be my 17th Leadville 100 mile race. Ten were on the bike and I’ve run six already. My goal is to finish 10 of each.

Last year I ran more miles before Leadville than ever before and it paid dividends with a faster finish and a quicker recovery. I’m hoping for more of the same this year.

I do have a new training partner Faygo, who’s pictured on the right. We’ve been building up her endurance, and yesterday was her longest run of 7 miles. That along with the Christmas craziness last night means she’s been in bed most of the today.

 


Heidelberg Project wants your old shoes

I’ve got a big garbage bag of old, worn out running shoes. My green side has kept me from dumping them in the waste stream. I was hoping I could find some means of recycling them.

My hopes have been answered.

The Heidelberg Project in Detroit is looking for old shoes. From their Facebook page:

Tyree Guyton is seeking donations of old shoes, in any condition, for an upcoming installation project.  Shoes can be brought to the Heidelberg Project office, 42 Watson, Detroit, MI 48201. General office hours are Mon-Fri 10am-5pm.  Collection continues through mid-to-late March

Whether you bring one shoe or many, you can also write a note about the life of the shoe(s) and what they meant to you.

Some of my shoes participated in the Leadville Trail 100 run, so I’ll make some notes on those.


Icy roads? No problem for biking and running

With the reductions in municipal snow removal, the streets have been a bit of an icy mess for a while, but that’s no excuse for not continuing to bike and run.

My winter bike has Nokian Extreme tires with steel carbide studs. They’re not needed all winter long, but they work great on icy roads.

And winter biking is often in low-light or darkness, which makes it difficult to see all of the icy spots.  The Nokians add a layer of confidence that if you do hit the ice, you won’t hit the deck.

For running, I’ve added 11 sheet metal screws to the tread of an old pair of Nikes. The screws are short enough to not poke through. So far I haven’t lost a screw but I sure have worn some down.

There still is a little bit of slippage with these shoes when pushing off hard on the ice. I think a few more screws in the lower-forefoot might solve that.


Leadville Trail 100 run: #5

Photo by Dave Finamore

Yeah, it’s old news. I ran the Leadville Trail 100 in August and finished. I’m now halfway to my goal of 10 finishes and a super grande Leadville belt buckle.

So what happened during the race? The conditions were perfect. Everything seemed to be going great until about mile 25. My stomach digestion was starting to slow.

My stomach got worse as the race progressed. My belly was full of toxic brew of Gu and Endurolytes (a brand of salt tablets.)

I had a decent but uninspired 3000′ climb up Mt. Hope Pass. My new Montrail Rockridges worked great on the descent. They hooked up and protected my feet from the rocky trail surface.

But my stomach just got worse. My weight at the halfway mark was the same as the day before, but I felt bloated.

My return climb up Mt. Hope was painful, but that’s par for the course. There’s a lot of human carnage on this climb and I wasn’t the worst.

On the flip side, I had my best descent ever coming down off the mountain. For the first time, I wasn’t passed — not bad for a flatlander.

At the 60-mile aid station I saw Kevin and a very pregnant Shelby Bauman. They cheered me on and more.

I continued to run into the dusk. If it weren’t for my stomach, I would have felt pretty darn good. All those extra training miles were paying off.

At the mile 75 aid station a runner named Dave was asking runners if they needed a pacer. I asked him what his expectations were. If he wanted someone who was on top of their game, I wasn’t the one to pace. Dave said my pace would be fine. He carried my pack and helped carry on a discussion which made the trail go by faster.

He was available for pacing because his runner had dropped out. She’d suffered severe hip pain on top of Mt. Hope Pass and couldn’t even step. Her Mt. Hope pacer literally carried her down off the mountain — an unbelievable feat!

My stomach just got worse. And midway up the Powerline climb I mentioned to Dave that I had thrown up in nearly 28 years. Then I threw up. I immediately felt great and started hiking up the hill, getting all chit-chatty all of a sudden.

I basically didn’t eat for a few hours. Then with just a half marathon to go, I did started nibbling on solids. I was mostly power hiking so the lack of calories wasn’t a big deal.

The sun came up for the second time during the race and I slowly made my way back in to Leadville. On the final stretch, the owner of Lifetime Fitness pulled up next to me in his big black SUV and asked how it felt to finish. It felt good.

Surprisingly enough, I finished with my second fastest time ever: 27 hours and 55 minutes.

Nothing spectacular but it counts.

What I did right

  • The Montrail Rockridge shoes were a great choice. Having zero blisters in 100 mile run is amazing. I only had one minor trip and fall.
  • Wearing compression socks may have helped keep my legs fresher despite the high-dork factor.
  • The replacement water bladder in my Nathan water pack didn’t leak. It’s a very convenient pack for these types of event, especially when running unsupported.
  • I lost weight leading up to the race.
  • Having Dave pace me for the last 25 miles. It’s so much easier to slack when it’s just you. Thank you, Dave!

What I did wrong

Apparently Endurolytes salt tablets are made to complement other electrolyte beverages, but I was taking in water. Endurolytes also are relatively low in sodium and contain a bunch of other stuff. I believe it was that other stuff which accumulated in my stomach. I plan on switching to other salt tablets next time and may even use an energy drink instead of water.


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